Skip to main content

Full text of "Flora Indica Vol-I"

See other formats

Cor yd alls •]                          FLORA INDICA,                                    259
described, in which the majority of the species are upon the whole remarkably well
marked and distinct from one another; amongst the Himalayan ones, at any rate,
there is none of that interlacement of forms that has rendered the disentanglement of
the species of RanuncuZacea and Serderideee so laborious and unsatisfactory.
"We have not adopted the sectional groups proposed by Be Caudolle, as they do not
seem tq be altogether natural, and some of the best characters by which they are
limited (those of the root, for instance) are practically unavailable. Many of the
species have tuberous* roots, but in a considerable number these are so deeply buried
in the earth or lodged in crevices of rocks, that it is impossible to prove their
existence in the living plant. A knowledge of the roots of the species is a great
desideratum, which we often in vain attempted to supply, and the more to be re-
gretted because the characters they afford are eminently natural. With regard
to the character taken from the length of the spur of the posticous bundle of
filaments, that seems to depend mainly upon the length of the spur of the pos-
ticous petal itself; and where it does not, a strict adhesion to its proportional length
would sunder very closely allied species. The persistence of the style is a very in-
constant character, and that drawn from the lobing of the stigmata is not available
in dried specimens, and of doubtful value. The arillus varies extremely in form and
relative size during different stages of the growth of the seed, and is not quite con-
stant in each species. A much more important character is drawn from the develop-
ment of the young plant; the seed in the section Bulbocapnos being described as ger-
minating by a single cotyledon, whose radicle forms a perennial tuber, which sends up
a primordial leaf in the following year, and a flowering stem in subsequent ones: the
other sections, again, have opposite cotyledonary leaves. It is evident, however, that it
must be many years before observations on this point can be verified on even a few
species of the genus, and until done for the majority, the value of the characters they
afford must be quite problematical. Lastly, the sections Capnoides and Capnites are
hardly distinguishable by any character, and we find species placed in each that should
certainly stand very close together. Under these circumstances we have not hesitated
to take definite characters drawn from the pod for the primary divisions, and others
from the perianth, etc., for those of secondary value. These, however, are in a great
measure arbitrary, and are proposed as provisional only.
The maximum of the genus Corydalis is certainly to be sought in the Himalaya,
where the species of the western mountains differ so much from those of the eastern,
that there are no doubt others to be discovered, especially in Bhotan, Abor, and
Mishmi. In the mountains of western China also they probably abound, and there
are a considerable number of known but undescribed species even in the eastern and
drier parts of that empire. "With the exception of one species, and that a common.
Himalayan and Siberian one, found in the Khasia, the genus finds its southern limit
in the Himalaya.
Of the 24 species we have described, 9 are new, a much larger proportion than in
any other genus hitherto described in this work. In this respect Coiydali* is rivalled by
very few, except Mododmdron, Imjpatiens, and Astragalus. We have also added 2
Siberian an'd 1 European species not hitherto supposed to be Himalayan. Of the
Himalayan species 12, or one-half, are found to the eastward of the v:>Uey of Nipal,
and 7, of which 6 are new, are confined to the eastern Himalaya. On the other hand,
16 are found to the westward of the valley of Nipal, of which 10 are confined, to
the western ranges, and only 8 are new. If, however, we exclude the more strictly
Tibctau species of the western regions, some or 'most of which probably occur hi
eastern Tibet also, we have 10 western forms, of which only 4 are not found east of
the valley of Nipal. Hence we may infer that the damp regions of the eastern Hi-
malaya are the most favourable to the development of species of this beautiful genus.
Sect. 1.—Slligua longe Hueari-elongata. Semina "t-seriata.—Herbse
elata ramoBas folmcet radice^rosa.
1. C. ophiocarpa (ILf. et T.); gracilis, nunosa, foliis bipinnati-